For the fourth consecutive year, India remains the leading place of origin for international students studying in the United States, according to a report released today in Washington.
Open Doors 2005, the annual report on international academic mobility published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, said that all of the five leading sending countries experienced increases in enrollment in 2004/05, and these five countries account for almost half (47%) of all international students in the United States.
India remains the largest sending country for the fourth year in a row, with a total of 80,466 students, a 1 % increase over the previous year's enrollments.
"The United States remains the best place in the world to pursue higher education and we continue to assure international students that they are welcome in our country," said Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Dina Habib Powell.
China, the second-largest sending country with 62,523 students, had a 1% increase in enrollment, after experiencing a decline of 5% the previous year. The Republic of Korea, which remained the third leading sender for the fourth year in a row, was up by 2% to 53,358. Japan, the fourth leading sender with 42,215 students in the U.S., experienced an increase in enrollment of 3%, reversing a trend in declining enrollments that began three years ago. Enrollments of students from Canada, the only non-Asian country in the top five, increased by 4% to 28,140.
In 2004/05, the number of international students enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions remained fairly steady at 565,039, off about 1% from the previous year's totals. This marked the sixth year in a row that America hosted more than half a million foreign students. This year's numbers indicate a leveling off of enrollments, after last year's decline of 2.4%. Some campuses reported significant increases in enrollments while other campuses reported declines. Asia continued to be the largest sending region by a wide margin, and showed a slight increase in enrollments.
The slight overall decline in international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities has been attributed to several factors, including real and perceived difficulties in obtaining student visas (especially in scientific and technical fields), rising U.S. tuition costs, vigorous recruitment activities by other English-speaking nations, and perceptions abroad that it is more difficult for international students to come to the United States. In addition, universities in students' home countries and other regional host countries have been increasing their capacity to provide high quality education.
The other highlights of the report are that California is the leading host state for international students, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Florida and that the most popular fields of study for international students in the U.S. are Business and Management, Engineering and Mathematics and Computer Sciences. (See www.opendoors.iienetwork.org for more details).